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Jack Lew 15, America 12, Aig 10, Us 9, Washington 7, Chris Christie 5, U.s. 5, Christie 4, Biden 4, Obama 4, Allstate 4, Mitch Mcconnell 4, Aflac 3, Humira 3, New Jersey 3, Sandy 3, Dennis 3, Heather 2, Msnbc 2, John Boehner 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    January 9, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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the cabinet reshuffle continues, and next in the hot seat, jack lew. it is wednesday, january 9th, and this is "now." joining me today, "rolling stones" eric bates, heather mcgee, former traveling press secretary for the obama campaign jen psaki, and the effortlessly elegant msnbc contributor jonathan capehart of "the washington post." at a time of great fiscal uncertainty and belt tightening, president obama is poised to nominate as the next treasury secretary a man who brings his lunch to work every day, a cheese sandwich and apple to be precise, president obama will reportedly tap jack lew tomorrow to replace timothy geithner.
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lew would take over on the eve of another debt ceiling battle. in round one during the summer of 2011, boehner's top staffer called lew's debt ceiling negotiations disrespectful and dismissive. according to david plouffe, that is because jack knows the numbers and republicans couldn't pull a fast one. two names are being floated to replace lew, dennis mcdonagh, currently his deputy national security adviser and ron klain. but the latest cabinet nomination is, surprise, creating consternation among who else, congressional republicans. after calling chuck hagen an in-your-face nomination outside of the mainstream, the pugnacious gop has already made known its displeasure with jack lew, calling his nomination controversial, a mistake, and worst of all, irritating.
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according to senator mike johanns of nebraska, i just think there are economic policies in this administration that haven't been well received and jack lew is in the middle of that. you heard that correctly, america, president obama intends to name a treasury secretary who agrees with his economic policies. meanwhile, purveyor from alabama jeff sessions had this to say. you would think he might want to be gracious in his victory and seek more bipartisan support. if anybody knows more about grace and bipartisanship it is the gop. joining us now, hans nichols, ready to play with us here in the big leagues here at "now" on msnbc. great to see you, my friend. you're the man of the hour. you first broke this news about jack lew being tapped for treasury. my first question is, is this an aggressive pick? >> no, it's an essentially the safe pick.
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i'm only the man of the hour if this is true, right? >> proves faulty, but continue on, my friend. >> we're fairly certain this is going to happen tomorrow. our reporting indicates that, other news organizations have said that. look, jack lew fits a pattern, the whole process every time he's had an opening, that is he has this sort of internal candidate, then they cast out wide, think, oh, gee, who else might we want to think about, they reached out to the ceo of american express and the president always goes with who he's most comfortable, in this case, jack lew. it's a safe pick also because lew has been confirmed twice in this administration, twice in the clinton years, but twice in this administration. he has a squeaky clean vet for a guy who brings a sandwich to work every day, not a lot of tintlating details will come
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out. if they go after him, it's all policy. >> so then what do you make of all this bluster ahead of it, especially on the heels of the pushback on the other nominations, you would think the gop would not waste time or political capital on pushing back on someone as potentially benign as jack lew. >> the view from the white house is senate republicans will take one shot at one of the cabinet nominees and expend all their ammunition, if they have much, probably on chuck hagel. they may try to take them both out, but it seems to me, you can't litigate every single nominee that the president, who was just reelected, sends down to the hill. they are going to have 55 votes in the senate. it doesn't seem to me jack lew is going to be the one that they really make a fuss over, but we'll see what comes out over the next 48 hours and what they are saying once it's official, what sort of vibe and signals we get from the senate. >> jack lew and vibes. i want to open this up to our panel here.
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jen, you know, to some degree, the bluster from the republican party is now par for the course on basically everything. if the president announced he was going to have a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, i'm sure there would be outcry it wasn't chicken salad. >> if lindsey graham was nominated, i'm not sure he'd vote for himself at this point. it's become this big trend, that's unfortunate. take a step back, it is delaying the process to getting important nominees in place, and whether you're a democrat or republican, you should have the right to nominate people who are qualified for the job. and the second piece is it's deterring people who would be very qualified and excellent public servants who don't want to go through the process and have their lives and records dragged through, so it's really unfortunate. >> heather, if you look at the legacy for the gop in terms of this being their playbook, which is to say obstruct, obstruct, obstruct, it doesn't seem to be a very good long game. to some degree it's the
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president content to let them play with this. they write, after four-plus years of em bittered partisan combat, he views his gop bargaining partners with more than a little contempt. the best way to deal with the capitol is throw rocks at it, then send vice president biden in to clean up the glass. the wisdom of vice president biden and glass, setting that aside, it would appear the president would say, fine, obstruct, say what you want about my nominees, they are going to get approved. >> he's got to do that. that's the sort of position he's in. but i think it's had a long-term effect. particularly on the issue of judicial nominations, the president is way behind previous presidents in the recent memory in a way that is causing a crisis in the courts. and we also know when the president tries to step outside of people who are safe, who have worked on wall street, already been in government and vetted 300 times, it becomes a problem.
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look at susan rice. i think the fact the republicans are aiming at one of their own, at chuck hagel, is really an astonishing sort of symbol of where we're at in terms of finding bipartisanship, that that would be smacked down by the republican party. >> we were talking about this yesterday on the show, of all the people the president has nominated so far, you would think john brennan would be the most controversial. he's the one no one is talking about. >> that's right. you can look at all these candidates, hagel and lew, mainstream candidates who represent the president's positions flawlessly, are a stark contrast with the bush administration, therefore the republicans might have beef with him, but that's just not happening. we're being surprised when clearly it's part of a broader strategy to discredit the very idea of government. yes, the polls show that congress is more unpopular than
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head lice. >> and cockroaches. >> nickelback. >> castro still slightly more unpopular, but i think they can fix that. long term, that's not how people see it. long term, people go government, can't get anything gun. it casts it on the whole enterprise. >> hans, i want to bring you back in this for a second to talk about the ethicacy of a choice of jack lew as head of the treasury department. when we began this fiscal slope, curve, cliff discussion, tim geithner was involved, there was a sense jack lew would be involved. they were marginalized towards the end, and as glenn mentions, vice president biden was the guy to sweep in at the last minute to make the deal. congressional republicans sound like they don't really want to work with him. is that a problem for the administration? >> yes and no. the administration has done this
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in the past, you bring in the heavy to close the deal. it's like when you're trying to discipline your children, don't wait till your father gets home, you can kind of keep jack lew in the background to bring in him. there's a view of having someone who's strong, lew is not a fist pounder. lew derives his authority and respect from the command of the issues, and i don't mean the command of the issues, i mean the command of the numbers. he can dig down, divide fractions in his head. that's why he's a danger and threat to some house republicans. this isn't meant to be negative about the house republicans. they don't simply have sort of the institutional knowledge and memory of someone like jack lew, who has 30 years of washington experience he brings to these debates. one caveat, you think the role of the treasury secretary is figuring how to jam congress on a deal, jack lew is a very good pick. if you think the role of a treasury secretary is to hold
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wall street's hand during a potential default, jack lew doesn't seem as wise of a pick because he doesn't have the market experience. a third option, if you think the world is going to crumble and there's going to be social unrest in greece, you also want someone with international experience. what the white house is going to try to do is put a number two in under lew who checks those boxes, has international experience, has markets experience. lew doesn't have that. >> jonathan, dividing fractions in your head, not something i can do, which is why i wasn't tapped to be treasury secretary, but there is a question, and we were talking about this in advance of lew's would be nomination and that's the diversity question. the new york times points out the only woman facing the president was valerie jared. you see valerie jared's leg in the oval office, beyond that, it's all men. with this latest round of picks, they are all white men.
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to what degree is this not good for the president, who it must be said has a fairly decent record given there's eight women in his tcabinet at present and three are minorities. >> we have a president who's chosing people in his second term with whom he's comfortable. i'm not going to begrudge the president, his pick, all white guys or women or african-americans or latinos or lesbian or gay, it's the president's prerogative. optically, yes, it is a problem for the president. he's the first african-american, people look to him as being someone whose administration -- excuse me -- should look like america, and that photo you showed, america doesn't look like that anymore. but i do think that, you know, we're not done yet. i should say the president's not done yet in picking who's going to be in his cabinet, who's going to fill all the other
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positions. i'm not going to smack him around. >> just to add one thing, because i worked there for three years, that's one photo, yes, there are a lot of white men in that photo, but any given day the president has meetings with other people from his economic team, some people from that room, some people from his national security team. he doesn't say i want to make sure there are two latinos, two african-americans, three women, but that's how many of the rooms are much more diverse, of course, given 50% of the people in the white house are women than that photo. that being said, there's a pipeline problem in washington, in government, in politics, in business, of women. that's the reality. >> and diversity in general. hans, before we let you go, chief of staff, my friend, i know you're a betting man -- >> jen psaki, pipeline problem here, psaki, she checks all the box. she has a clear command of the issue. two other white guys. >> who's your pick, who's closer
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in that race? >> i'm going with mcdonaugh. >> if you win on that, we'll have you back on the show, hans nichols playing in the big leagues with us. what a debut, my friend. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. after the break, new polling showing chris christie with sky-high approval ratings. somewhere in that data is all you need to know about the current condition of the republican party. we'll discuss grand ole problems next on "now." people really love snapshot from progressive, but don't just listen to me. listen to these happy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. with snapshot, i knew what i could save before i switched to progressive. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. you're not filming this, are you?
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chris christie is charging
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into battle under the banner of bipartisanship. if he just sees an opportune moment to push the message, but either way, the man of the hour for the republican party. >> you're in politics to win to get your ideas. we lost two national elections in the row. we need to think about doing something different. >> there's plenty in new jersey in politics, as well. >> a lot less than there used to be. >> a new poll confirms christie winning support from both sides of the aisle. 73% of new jerseyans approve of him, including 62% of democrats. last night christie delivered his state of the state address, which was chock full of calls for cooperation. we don't have that sound. the washington post dana milbank paints christie as an anomaly. americans are crying out for an
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end to ideological warfare. that has developed into christie's signature in new jersey. a poll found support for the tea party is at record lows, while the poll found 24% called themselves tea party members in 2010, 8% see themselves as one now. evenly between democrats and republicans, that changed this past year. currently, 47% of americans identify with democrats compared to 42% who align with the gop. last night on "hardball," crusader dick army diagnosed the problem as mistakes made by candidates on the trail. his prescription, however, isn't to change the fringe positions that got them into trouble, but rather to conceal them. >> i got this years and years ago from the head of the texas right to work committee, which was take your position on this issue, then keep your mouth shut
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about it, talk on the campaign trail about those issues that don't upset people where you can find agreement. >> in the end, this may not be just a tea party problem, it maybe a republican party problem. newsweek writes, it may be the republicans aren't very good at politics anymore. other sees republicans drawing lines in the sand, i see them drawing gas to choke them later on. a visceral image, but talk about that dick armey choice sound right there. basically lie to everybody. put up a smoke screen, then once you get in there, you can do all the fringe stuff you wanted to do. we keep saying the first step is admitting you have the problem. at certain points in this year and the last month, okay, the republican party is getting close to understanding they need an overhaul, not just in terms of branding, but in terms of policy. then you see stuff like that and
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it throws conventional wisdom to the wind. >> i think one of the key things to understand about chris christie, which is really the other side of the dick armey part of the republican party, when he first came into office, he was slashing education funding at a time when it's essential to rebuilding a middle class america in new jersey. he was giving out hundreds of millions to corporate tax breaks to donors and ideological sort of counterparts. that's the governor he was being, and it was nasty in new jersey, and his approval ratings are nowhere near where they are now. once he started doing the business of government and showing the american people and his voters that government can be a force for good in people's lives, that it's an essential for solving the problems we can't solve on our own -- >> the democratic argument. >> his approval ratings went way up. the fundamental thing is if you are a politician who's antigovernment, there's going to be a limit to what you can
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accomplish to how sort of coherent you can be, and how truthful you can be. that's where you're not going to be able to say all the things that you really believe, because it's fundamentally at odds with the idea of democracy and dpovt. >> state governors have a very different understanding of the role of government than the, dare of say, maniacs of some republicans on capitol hill. what i see, my vantage point is skewed at best, but the idea is there are two faces of the republican party, there's the national party and the regional party. i want to play this sound from tom cotton. he sort of encapsulates the hell no party, as politico calls it. let's hear what he has to say. >> i think the congress as a whole has to say hell no to
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barack obama more. i wish we had people in 2009 and 2010 saying that as obama care was passed, stimulus was passed,ed dodd-frank bill was passed. >> opposite of what chris christie is saying. he has a district supportive of him that's largely republican. >> you have some, you know, state and local republicans like mike bloomberg, like christie who could represent a future for the party. the problem they are running into is a problem of the party's own creation. it's redistricting. you just said it. basically, congress has been locked into districts that can't be budged, so people like cotton thinks the world looks like their district. what they've learned election after election on the national stage is that's not true. they are not able to embrace that reality and change course and nothing's going to change the course of the house in that regard until those districts get
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redrawn into competitive districts. >> part of me just wants to be a soothe sayer to the republicans who are leaning towards moderation and say be free from fear. let them be crazy. you don't have to be like that. then you hear news mitch mcconnell, parts of the party, outside groups, we're going to primary you, mitch mcconnell, you made a deal on the fiscal cliff. jonathan, what are these erstwhile moderate republicans to do? >> run in fear, which is what they've been doing. if you're mitch mcconnell coming up for reelection in 2014 and you have seen more than one of your fellow senators and some folks in the house go down in defeat, not in a general election, but in a primary, people have been sitting on capitol hill for years, go down in a primary because they weren't conservative enough and have a 100-plus rating by the conservative union or whatever grading operation is out there,
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your moderation, whatever, you know, things you have to compromise, are going to go completely out the window. mitch mcconnell is going to fight for his political life, and the idea that he made this deal with vice president biden on the fiscal cliff, that's great. i can't wait to see what he's going to do on the debt ceiling, on the sequester, and on the continuing resolution as we get closer to his d-day. >> the thing, though, is in terms of national brand management, when you look at the polling, right, the approval rating, john boehner's approval rating on handling the debt ceiling negotiations, 31%. his disapproval rating is 51%. the president's disapproval rating 52%, disapproval, 37%. >> that's what i found hysterical. john boehner's office put out this dramatic statement that he would no longer sit down at the table and be part of the
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negotiations as if that's been a path to victory or he realized he had no role in this, no effective role. the problem with the republican party is they don't know who they are. they can't figure out who they are. you mention tom cotton. i know another interview i read from him recently, he said, i'm ready to take my medicine. he's not taking any medicine, it's the american people, the people getting their health care cut, their education funding cut, and it's like get out of washington, get in an rv, drive around, figure out what the american people are talking about. >> look at the national polling, it's not good. if you look at the rest of the country, it's not okay. the final point here, heather, there's a lot of tough talk about the continuing resolutise the debt ceiling. those are issues that will hurt the business community, the defense industry, which they are loathed to antagonize. the contention that somehow
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republicans are going to sit this one out and not be hurt is wildly misguided, at best. >> it's absolutely -- i think right now we can see that all of the weakness in the economy is the responsibility of the republican party, right? i'm just going to say it, right? there are so many things we could have been doing to rebound this economy, put americans directly back to work, the american jobs act, uncertainty on the investment side, but really the bread and butter of people getting to work, money going into communities is not happening because of the republican party. when we look back in history, that's the big tragic moment in history. >> the banner of blame, i salute you, my friend. coming up, a former fed official likens aig's suit against the government to a patient suing their doctor for saving their life. we will examine said patient and others cured by bailouts when
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ezra klein joins us just ahead. time for the entrepreneur of the week. they are always ready for customers who order seed bombs from their company. strong relationships with suppliers and knowing clients' habits help maintain a balanced inventory. i paint people from my life mostly.
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my ex-girlfriend... 7th grade math teacher. who is this? that's pete. my... [ dennis' voice ] allstate agent. a "starving artist" has an allstate agent? he got me... [ dennis' voice ] the allstate value plan. it's their most affordable car insurance and you still get an agent. [ normal voice ] i call it... [ dennis' voice ] the protector.
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is that what you call it? the protector! okay. ♪ the allstate value plan. are you in good hands? aig wants america to know that the company is thankful for its nearly $200 billion rescue. it also wants the country to know what it's doing with its new lease on life. >> helping recover from hurricane sandy. >> leading a global insurance company based here in america. >> we're leaner and more focused on what we do best. >> we've turned it around. >> thank you, america. >> thank you, america. >> does thank you also mean we're taking you to court? we'll discuss lawsuits and bailouts with chief wonk and budget circuit expert ezra klein next on "now." at 1:45, the aflac duck was brought in
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with multiple lacerations to the wing and a fractured beak. surgery was successful, but he will be in a cast until it is fully healed, possibly several months. so, if the duck isn't able to work, how will he pay for his living expenses? aflac. like his rent and car payments? aflac. what about gas and groceries? aflac. cell phone? aflac, but i doubt he'll be using his phone for quite a while cause like i said, he has a fractured beak. [ male announcer ] send the aflac duck a get-well card at getwellduck.com. starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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remember aig, the insurance giant whose risky bets during the financial crisis led to a $182 billion bailout? aig became the poster child for wall street greed when it was revealed they were paying top executives millions of dollars in bonuses. that prompted the following reaction from president obama back in may of 2009. >> this is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed. under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at aig warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. >> now, in a move that is enraging lawmakers and administration officials, the company is considering joining a
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$25 billion lawsuit being filed by the company's former chief executive hank greenburg, who says the bailout terms were too harsh and accuses the new york fed of being a loan shark for charging a 14.5% interest rate. a loan shark that sticks its neck out to save its victims. this wild and seemingly delusional desertion, aig's board of directors had an alternative choice to borrowing from the federal reserve, and that choice was bankruptcy. politico reports, tim geithner, who faced calls for firing over the aig bailout and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke are furious. they are not alone. elizabeth warren is one of many whose blood boils over. aig's reckless bets nearly crashed our economy. they should thank american
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taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them. it is worth noting they paid off their loans which resulted in a $220 million profit for the u.s. government and must protect the interest of their shareholders and held a meeting this morning to discuss the lawsuit. it is expected to reach a decision by the end of the month. joining us now from washington, msnbc policy analyst, ezra klein of "the washington post." always great to see you, my friend, especially on days like this where i am so confused as to how this could be happening. i ask you, my friend, is hank greenburg getting high on his own supply? >> it's honestly hard to talk about this issue on television, because you can't curse, and it's hard to talk about this issue without using all seven of the words you can't say. it's very important to know the loan rate that aig could have got if they had gone to the market, to the private market, that rate is nothing. it could have got no loan.
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it would have been forced immediately into bankruptcy, and it is aig, the reason we had to save it, the ugliest thing we had to do in the financial crisis, was the role they played in the entire financial system was they had backed up the horrible bets every other bank had made. so if aig went down, all of wall street would have gone down. they were the nerve center. what scared us about aig was that if they went down, goldman sachs went down, jpmorgan went down, everybody goes down. no one to loan them money, because they were at the center of the whole financial crisis, which was shutting down the financial system. now they come back and say we loan them money at an overly onerous rate. this is coming after we found out they were able to pay that money back. clearly, they were able to pay it back and we made a profit on it. the whole thing is ridiculous.
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we should say aig has not agreed to sign on to the lawsuit. the board of directors is hearing out the former ceo, probably one of the worst villains of the financial crisis. i would be surprised if they make a move like this, but it is an appalling, appalling, ridiculous affront. >> you're trying to avoid the words, but it's blanking, blanking unbelievable they are doing this. those are the blanks i was looking for. eric, whether or not aig joins this lawsuit or not, there's this sort of mental -- there's this attitude, i think, that perhaps none of us understand that permeates wall street. a sense of brazenness, if you will, and real distaste for the federal government, even if the federal government is the one that swoops in at the midnight hour to save your life. this would seem to be exemplary of that and also pessimistically a sign that we are as far apart as we have been, those two worlds. >> when you look at what the
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obama administration did for wall street, we have a story about the bailouts and what egregious handout they were and how they are still going on. the bank secretly got billions and billions in secret loans from the feds, basically zero percent interest rate, didn't tell their shareholders that. their ceos were busy buying and selling stocks, so there's a question of insider trading that was going on off the bailout, and none of those people have been touched or looked at. so, you know, wall street got this huge handout, and yet during the election they came out 5-1 in terms of financial contributions against obama. there's a real disconnect in terms of their own world view. if this has been a republican administration, they would have been ecstatic. there's politics going on here as well. >> we were talking about this in the break, we played the ad aig has been running on the air, which is thank you, america, thank you, america, thank you,
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america. some sort of brand management, or attempt thereof, but the fact they are engaged in this is the most damaging -- hurts your brand more than any ad can hope to help you. >> it bespeaks cluelessness. to go back to the attitude, it's as if all of wall street this entire time, without us, you're nothing. it goes to the too big to fail argument. without us, you can't do anything. no government, no united states, so you will save us. oh, by the way, if we want to give bonuses to our folks even though we took your money, fine, because that's the way we work. you just don't understand. >> ezra, that attitude, let's talk about financial regulation. dodd-frank is, i believe, only a third of the rules are in place in terms of financial regulation. the house republicans have been trying to unwind, defund
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bureaus, tried to put in language during the fiscal cliff/curb debate. where do you stand and are you bullish or bearish on implementing the rest of dodd-frank? >> something kind of in between a bull and a bear. >> an owl, what is it? >> i'm not hugely optimistic. moving almost all derivatives, which means we can see what's in them and what they are. a lot of that has been off the books until now. a lot of what's going on with aig has been off the books until now, but dodd-frank has rules regulators are creating. i'm sure in the short-term they'll be fine. the problem is when it's up to the regulators to define the rules, the next time we get into this bubble period, right, remember part of what happens in a run up to a bubble is everybody starts to really like wall street. wall street was able to get tons of deregulation in the '90s and able to get a lot of
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congressional support in the 2000s, too, because they looked so good at their job that people thought there's no way these geniuses who are making so much money could possibly be mispricing all this risk. if they were so dumb, no way they'd be making this money, right? that's when regulators begin to knock down the rules, they get convinced wall street is great or has figured something new out this time. i'm not so worried about the short term. but in the long term, i do worry about the amount of regulatory discretion. i would prefer simple, blunt rules that are short, hard to evade. and yes, that take away the flexibility of wall street to innovate and adapt. frankly, a lot of the innovation wall street does, it does in the long run make it much more dangerous, because they don't understand those innovations themselves and it's mixed with a toxic culture that you're seeing here in this absurd entitled aig
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consideration of this lawsuit. >> ezra klein, thank you for the wisdom on the financial services industry and the sekill of expressing. >> you're blanking welcome. coming up, one report said 2012 was the hottest year in u.s. history while another puts climate change atop the threats. will the environment finally become a legislative priority? we'll discuss that just ahead. what are you doing? nothing. are you stealing our daughter's school supplies and taking them to work? no, i was just looking for my stapler and my... this thing. i save money by using fedex ground and buy my own supplies. that's a great idea. i'm going to go...
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in his first post-election news conference this november, president obama voiced concerns about climate change. >> i am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it
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is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions, and as a consequence, i think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it. we haven't done as much as we need to. >> can this president and can this congress do anything to turn down the heat? we'll discuss next. so if you have a flat tire, dead battery, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!! well it's good... good for me. what do you think? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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2012 was the hottest year on record in the u.s., making history with an average temperature 55.3 degrees farenheit. that is a full degree warmer than the previous record. this chart from noaa shows that all 48 contiguous u.s. states, with the exception of washington, experienced either their warmest year in record or temperatures much above normal. the u.s. experienced $11 billion-plus weather events last year. hurricane sandy made headlines,
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equally devastating was the great drought of 2012, that at one time affected 61% of the mainland u.s. it was the worst drought since the dust bowl of 1939, and it resulted in an estimated $35 billion in crop damages. the country also experienced its third worst wildfire season 9.2 acres burned, an area the size of maryland, ellipsed only by the 2006 and 2007 seasons. none of this should be a surprise, ten hottest years on record occurred in the last 15 years. in australia, the heat has caused the bureau of immediateologiimmediate immediate -- immediate meteorology has caused them to come up with new colors. heather, we have talked about this as a green issue or as an environmental issue.
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it is economically calamitous for the domestic economy, global economy, to continue to let this go on unabated without any kind of policy discussion around it. >> absolutely. it's one of those things where it's really hard for people to hold in their minds both the stats you listed and incredible degree of the crisis and the fact we are essentially not at a crisis response on a day-to-day basis. progressives in congress, the president of the united states, has not said this is a world war ii type of mobilization that we should be at. one of the things that's really been missing is the kind of leadership from the business community that you would see, you would think you would see, given how much this is going to and has already having an economic impact. i checked before i came here. we talk about that nearly dust bowl level drought that was here this year, 51% of the country is still in that level of a drought. you know, $600 billion in economic damage from hurricane sandy and we're also talking about, you know, not raising
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taxes enough to actually meet our needs. this is going to be something where every single part of our society is going to have to get on sort of war footing in order to really be responsive to it. fortunately, we still don't see that. >> jonathan chait, the wise jonathan chait writes, the eternal folly of the bipartisan debt fetish. i consider the long-term debt problem a problem we're solving but mass unemployment and climate change are more urgent problems. notably, talk shows have given over little attention to climate change in the last four years and not quoted a single climate scientist during the entire span. we've agreed to make the deficit and budget discussion job number one, priority number one, we spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about it on this show, many other shows, but this is perhaps one of the greatest threats to america and the human race and we're not dealing with it. >> it's exactly what heather
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said. there isn't a pressing feeling there's something happening right now. >> i guess that's true, but then you think about what's happening in the midwest, the state of texas is on fire, how much more of a wake-up call do we need? >> how can you explain there's still many people in congress who are not believers that this is a real issue. this is an issue that the president feels is unfinished business from the first term, you know, they got cap and trade done very difficult vote in the house, many members probably lost their seats as a result, so what can they do now, and is this one of the priorities? the reality is he has 12 to 18 months, is this going to be one of the things? >> let's keep something in mind, the reason why the house was able to pass that bill is because we were talking a lot about climate change four years ago. there was this call, there was this call to do something about our warming planet, and then president obama gets in,
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everyone is very hopeful, but then political reality struck where you have the republican party turning the issue of climate change into you're trying to raise taxes, implementing stifling regulations. >> cap and tax. >> right, cap and tax shut down all conversation. >> also he had to choose between health care and climate change. he chose health care. at the end of the day, will there be political capital when the republicans are questioning the science of climate change? >> you know, it was reported in "rolling stone" that what's really going on here is that the oil and gas companies and coal companies have enough reserves on hand already to pass the climate limit, the temperature limit, that scientists say we can't pass, five times over. that's what's got to stop and where the political will is lacking because the fossil fuel industry isn't going to give on this.
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>> it is a story we'll continue to cover, and hopefully not just in our f-block in future segme t segments. thank you to our panel. that's all for now. see you back here tomorrow. talking about the bailouts. until then, find us at facebook.com/nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon, andrea. good news with rg3 being out of the hospital. coming up next, we continue on our special series "women make history in the senate." more calls for changes to gun laws. and jackie spear joins us. chris christie is everywhere, including the cover of "time" magazine. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. wasn't quite the same. the recipe's not the recipe... ohhh. [ female announcer ] ...without swanson. the broth cooks trust most when making soup. mmmm!
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